This week our student spotlight is Ana Porta from Chicago Ballet Arts…
Can you tell readers how you became involved with dance?
I initially began dancing at my preschool, and I also took classes at a couple studios in the area. That was before my mom found out about Chicago Ballet Arts from one of its current co-directors, Leslie Saunders, who happens to also be a mother of a family in my school district. Nobody else in my family had danced before, so it started out as just a hobby.
What do you find you like best about dance class?
For me, the best part of dance class is at the barre. I love taking the time to see how my body is feeling, what hurts, and what feels good. It is a time to become centered and focused, and it lets you think about what you want to accomplish that day. I love being intricate with my movement, and barre helps me find my core to perform for the rest of class.
What is the hardest part about dance for you?
The hardest part of dance for me is overcoming the physical obstacles that stand in my way. Ballet has never come easy for me; I have always had to work very hard to keep up with my peers. Being born with limited turnout and knee problems has always been a barrier for me, but the rewards that come from hard work are irreplaceable.
What advice would you give to other dancers?
My advice would be to keep working, no matter how difficult it may seem. Dance teaches discipline and grace, which are both qualities that everyone can benefit from. Not everyone is cut out to be a professional dancer, but nothing is more rewarding than having a blast in class and on stage.
How has dance changed your life?
Dance has had a huge impact on my life. When I was going through difficult times, ballet was a haven for me, and an outlet where I could release my anger and sadness, as well as joy and excitement. Ballet has always been there for me, and it has helped shape me into the person I am today. I hope that I continue to learn from dance and grow as a person, and I know that the lessons I have learned in my dance education will stay with me for the rest of my life.